Colorado: Police & Animal Control officers break into breeder's home to confiscate English Setter show dogs, terrifying a nursing mother dog and Attleson's neighbors.
LITTLE-MINDED LITTLETON, CO
Littleton Colorado City Prosecutor tells dog owner that he'll "make an example of him." He has succeeded, causing millions of dog owners to rally to Attleson's defense and earning his city the title of "Little Minded Littleton."
Dateline Nov. 2008 - Neighbors were shocked and frightened when four police cars, two animal control trucks, six uniformed police officers and two animal control officers claimed possession of their street. While English Setter breeder Bob Attleson was accepting Best Brace in Show at the Plum Creek Kennel Club, 20 miles from his home, authorities used what witnesses described as a battering ram to break down the front door to confiscate an adult dog in the home.
Neighbors reported that Officers then went next door, broke into a co-owner's home and confiscated Attleson’s 7 week old litter of English Setter puppies. Bob Attleson says “What would have happened to my dogs if the mother of the pups had tried to defend her babies? What if one of the dogs had dared to threaten the intruders?”
The pups were taken to the Colorado Humane Society Shelter, the same shelter exposed by Channel 7 Investigators in September 2007 and currently under investigation for conditions and irregular donation bookkeeping. There the traumatized puppies were separated from their dam, leaving the mother dog frantically calling for her pups. Authorities also ordered Attleson to surrender the dogs he had taken to the show - accusing him of neglect and cruelty, demanding the valuable show dogs also be turned over to the city for their “health and safety.”
Bullied into compliance, Attleson says none of the confiscated and allegedly “neglected” dogs were given any vet care during their seven-day incarceration. On the day they were released, shelter records indicate that all of the English Setters were "given 3 shots and wormed.” One adult that was previously under vet care for an intestinal problem developed kennel cough and the breeder said "the four puppies became ill the third day after they were returned from the shelter. They had severe intestinal problems which then spread to some of the older dogs.” Attleson said “(This raid) terrified my neighbors. That a city can so boldly break into a private residence to seize dogs has people wondering what can be next? To take them from our care and place them in one of the worst shelters in the metro area for their alleged protection is criminal."
Dog loving attorneys Susan Martin and Ruthann Macolini stepped up to the plate to face off with Littleton. Attleson has moved from Littleton but the city continues its harassment. Those who know Bob Attleson testified regarding how much he cares for his dogs as well as the many Setters he rescues out of devotion to all dogs. The three English Setter females taken by the City are pointed or AKC Champions. A dog owner simply cannot achieve AKC championships by employing anything less than superb nutrition, exercise, grooming, and training practices. Despite these inarguable facts, Attleson has been forced to spend over $150,000 to defend his property and his dogs and legal costs continue to mount.
According to Bob Attleson, the original case has devolved into a technical dispute over zoning ordinance violations but it is clear that his valuable dogs were and are being used as pawns. He points out that "before this action by the City of Littleton, there had never been a single complaint about the way the animals were cared for, no allegations of abuse or mistreatment, not even a complaint from a neighbor about barking dogs." After the raid, some of Bob's neighbors told reporters that they didn't even know there were dogs on the properties.
The raid was prompted by an ongoing dispute between the City and Attleson who had been to court previously to defend his rescue activities wherein rescued setters were occasionally brought to his property for short periods until foster or medical care was arranged. The City alleged that its zoning code limited the total number of dogs on Attleson's property to three dogs over the age of 6 months, even if he did not own the dogs. This speaks to every rescue group and organization that has short-term rescue dog "visitors" for the purpose of grooming, evaluation, and first aide.
Allegations of a barking dog, disturbing the peace, unsanitary conditions; all have been used to harass dog owners. Littleton has made a powerful statement about how little it regards citizen’s Rights and our Constitutional protections against unreasonable search and seizure.
Who will be the next victim of local “authority” gone mad? Bob Attleson is a decent and caring person who has given unselfishly of himself for more than 30 years to rescue and care for all setter breeds. The http://www.attlesondogdefense.com/ website has been established and we urge you to go there for more information, copies of court filings, and to donate to help cover the expenses of defending Bob's (and your own) rights to own, raise, and/or rescue dogs.
For more examples of Animal Control "out of control" and illegal police actions, see TheDogPress.com coverage of Dog Limit Law Cases which included interviews with Pointer Rescue and the NC Appellate Court "Collie Case".
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